Research in adults cannot simply be translated to children. Children are different; they have a different metabolism, different needs, and children sometimes have different diseases than adults. Moreover, children are a heterogeneous population, varying from premature newborns to adolescents of 17 years. Medicines work differently in children than in adult patients, and may have long-term consequences for growth and development. This makes research in children essential.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Pediatric intensive care is a relatively young specialism that has gone through major developments in de the past decades. The introduction of milestones such as the endotracheal tube, mechanical ventilators, cardiopulmonary bypass and extra-corporal oxygenation has made modern pediatric intensive care possible. Yet, the efficacy of many intensive care interventions and therapies in the critically ill child lack scientific evidence underscoring the need for research.
The pulmonary system is in constant development during childhood. During this period environmental exposures act upon genetic predisposition to set a child on a trajectory to pulmonary health or disease, processess that have been shown to track well into adulthood.
Unfortunately the exact nature of these pathofysiological processes is poorly understood as they are heteregeneous and typically poorly described by symptoms. This limits our capabilities to target existing therapies effectively and slows down development of novel therapies.
The department of pediatric pulmonology at the Emma’s Children Hospital performs research to increase our understanding of the development of airways disease. We approach this by focussing not only on those children that do develop disease but explicitely on what protects children despite being exposed to the same environment. In this context the primary focus of our research lies in pediatric asthma. We collaborate intensively with a wide range of departments to build collaborative research projects that help us identify novel preventive and therapeutic approaches in asthma along with biomarkers that help identify children most likely to benefit.
Pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
The department of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition of the Emma Children’s Hospital / Acadamic Medical Center is the referral center in the Netherlands for children with functional gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, functional abdominal pain and defecation disorders. Moreover, the department has specific knowledge regarding rare motility disorders such as achalasia, intestinal pseudo-obstruction and Hirschsprung’s disease. Another important topic is inflammatory bowel disease in adults and children, which has been a priority topic within our hospital. Since a few years, the outpatient clinic for feedingdisorders has developed into a national expertise center as well. Finally, the AMC has been designated as an official national centers of expertise in the field of intestinal failure and hereditary colon tumors in adults and children. Our goal is to continue our role as center of excellence in the these areas.
Erfelijke en Aangeboren Aandoeningen
The department of Inherited and Congenital Anomalies is a department in which knowledge and experience from clinical and molecular genetics is used to offer optimal care to children with genetically determined disorders, with or without congenital anomalies and with or without developmental problems. This is offered both to outpatient and inpatient care, but emphasis is on outpatient care. The work of the department is especially visible within a series of expertise clinics.
The department functions within the department of General Paediatrics. However, there are good collaborations with the colleagues providing care to adults, and indeed also care to adults can be provided through the departments of Internal Medicine and Neurology. It has very strong ties to patient support groups and directions in which both care and research developments go, are also determined by these support groups.
The work within the department is performed mainly by paediatricians specialised in care for individuals with inherited and congenital anomalies (a separate specialism in the Netherlands), but clinical geneticists and physicians providing care for individuals with intellectual disabilities (also a separate specialism in the Netherlands) are part of the department as well. Furthermore, if needed paediatricians of other subspecialties can be consulted, and also other specialties within the AMC such as ophthalmology, ENT, dermatology, plastic surgery and all other surgical specialties are available on request. There are strong ties to several groups of social scientists in the Netherlands in case specific behavioral problems are present.
Paediatric Nutrition & Metabolism
Early nutrition has a profound effect on later health, most outspoken in preterm infants.
Our research programme focusses on possible mechanisms how nutrition affects outcomes through basic reserach, while simultaneously clinical studies are conducted trying to identify optimal feeding strategies. Most studies are performed in the neonatal phase (mice, piglets and (preterm) infants), but also obesity related interventions are undertaken. The effect of human milk on various outcomes dominates our current research programme.
Techniques range from stable isotope methodology to gain insight in intermediary metabolism to RCTs to determine relevant outcomes.
Collaboration is with a wide variety of institutes across the world, with an emphasis on Denmark, USA and China.
Dr. J.H.M. Merks
Prof. dr. A.H.L.C. van Kaam
Prof. dr. W.M.C. van Aalderen
Prof. dr. M.A. Benninga
Prof dr. R. Hennekam
Dr. J.W. Groothoff
Prof. dr. T.P.V.M. de Jong
Paediatric Haematology/Immunology/ Infect. Diseases
Prof. dr. T.W. Kuijpers
Prof. dr. B. Poll–Thé
Dr. A.S.P. van Trotsenburg
Paediatric Metabolic Diseases
Prof. dr. F.A. Wijburg
Nutrition & Metabolism
Prof. dr. J.B. van Goudoever